How can we tell when our female dog is in heat?
Intact female dogs will normally come into heat (estrus) once every four to 12 months with the average for most breeds being once every six months. You will probably notice some bloody discharge from the vagina and a swollen vulva when your dog is in heat. You may notice "mounting" behavior, also. The heat period can last from eight to 30 days with an average of about 20 days.
Most female dogs will be willing to stand for a male dog and permit breeding around 10 to 16 days after the beginning of their heat period. Some females will be a little more aggressive during their heat period, but most show no change in behavior and interaction with their owners.
Having puppies is great if you want the puppies or if you’re trying to develop a special line of dogs. But there is no behavioral benefit in letting the female have a litter before spaying. The normal canine companion will benefit greatly from being spayed at an early age before she has her first heat cycle. Problems that can develop later in life, such as mammary cancer and uterine infections, are virtually eliminated if an ovariohysterectomy (spay) is performed before she experiences her first heat cycle.
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